DB Engineering & Consulting USA has received an early train operator services contract from California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) for the high speed railway system.

The company will assist CHSRA with the planning, design and implementation of the US’ first high-speed railway service under the new deal.

The contract is set to be performance-based and will not exceed $30m during the first phase.

CHSRA board chair Dan Richard said: “Today’s board action is a major step forward for California’s High-Speed Rail Programme.

“Bringing on an Early Train Operator during the current design and development phase of the programme will allow us to infuse commercial thinking into the design of the system.”

“Bringing on an Early Train Operator during the current design and development phase of the programme will allow us to infuse commercial thinking into the design of the system, including station layout, technical specifications, and strategies to improve asset performance and control costs.”

The agreement authorises DB Engineering & Consulting USA to act as lead operator, while its partner company Deutsche Bahn will serve as guarantor for the development.

CHSRA noted that the 2016 Business Plan solicited the engagement of an early train operator to provide assistance and perspective during the planning and design of the project’s track, systems, high-speed trains (rolling stock) and stations.

The involvement of an operator from the early stages of the programme is expected to help in devising the initiative’s commercial and operational aspects , as well as ensuring its safety and successful implementation.

The authority is expected to issue a notice to proceed for this contract in the coming weeks.

Construction of a 119-mile stretch of the California High-Speed Rail project is currently underway, with initial passenger services planned to operate between Silicon Valley and Central Valley.